By Matayo Baluku, Twaibu Warnala & Denis Muhangi
Risk factors for HCV among PWID include sharing needles and other injecting equipment, longer duration of injecting career, increased frequency of injection, requiring help injecting, being female, and history of imprisonment.
Despite the heavy burden of injecting drug use and its associated risks, and burden of HIV and HCV among PWID, effective harm reduction interventions that can help prevent their spread are severely lacking in many countries including Uganda. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only eight countries operate the needle and syringe program (NSP); seven offer some form of opioid substitution therapy (OST), and ten have explicit support for harm reduction contained in national policy documents. The current policies and guidelines for prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS in Uganda do not support OST and NSP.
While Uganda is one of the 179 countries where injecting drug use is present, data on PWID is limited. No studies have enquired about risk injecting and sexual practices for HIV and HCV among PWID. We therefore conducted this study to assess the risk practices among PWID in Uganda. We compared PWID sampled from Kampala, the only capital and central business city of Uganda, and Mbale Municipality, an urban center in Eastern Uganda.